Saturday, 14 February 2015

Partie/partir – and “Red Tents”

My last day in Paris, its time to leave, partir – this trip has now flown by. I have just gotten more used to being here. I have "arrived," more comfortable with French, and enjoying the cultural difference. This morning I wandered by the Saturday market stalls. So much good food on view, vegetables, fish, fruits, and more. I had just eaten a very delicate chocolate, and was struck by the care for, and ritual of food in France, of course its famous for that. Then I sat down at a crêperie – and ate the best crêpe I’ve ever had. I couldn’t believe how good it was, each bite soft and delicate. It was a galette actually (buckwheat), with the texture of a ‘dosa’ (South India). 

Cixous has written a text entitled, "Partie" (1976) - a complex term (and text). "Partie" is drawn from the verb "partir," to leave, to part, to go off to, evoking journeys, departures, the final trip of death, but also marking beginnings - where one starts from. The "e" of "Partie" denotes a feminine reading of this word/text. We arrive and depart at neither beginning nor end in this text. A ‘double’ text, the book writes and reads from both sides towards the middle, giving birth to itself. One side begins with the title “Plus-je” (More then - I) and reads towards the middle, until one finds the end meets the end of the alternate text in reverse. This other side is titled “Si-je” (If – I, see - I). Words are so common, and so strange, what do we have without the common place of language?

I miss my husband and girls. The girls are older now, so are more independent, but not really. They still need their home, and us (as do I!). I have no idea how I will do the longer time away from them, coming up in April/May. I have been pondering this along. Leaving my ‘nest’ to go to work. It’s a long way to fly for a seminar! But that is the process, to be here, learn and research (to arrive, and to leave). And there was no way to have my family be here for these periods, with all the commitments of school and life they are in. As too my husband, who stays home to tend the nest. So I go alone - elle partie. Of course it’s an incredible opportunity, but there is the fact of being ‘away.’ I re-visit the travelling form of my youth – the young woman who wandered alone through India, and came here to France at very young age, how did she do it? Then I travelled for graduate school, to San Francisco and back (it’s obviously a theme for me). Now I am at the age of: “Madame,” no longer that young adventurous girl. I take things in, step by step – it’s more a savour-ing (savoir - to know). And I appreciate the ability to move around like this again, after illness. I go slower now.

While here, in the evenings with my computer, I’ve had the pleasure of watching DeAnna L’am’s video series, made for her “Red Tents in Every Neighborhood” movement It’s a series of videos of women who are educators/leaders in the work of creating spaces for women to gather, and be nurtured by each other, especially during menstruation as a cycle of female/feminine life. It’s a movement for women to support and re-claim bodies/selves, past the shame and taboo of menstruation, to care and honour, to know oneself as the 'goddess' one is. The women are heart-fully speaking about what they learned from their mothers (good and bad), what they are teaching their daughters, and their visions for empowering girls’ and women’s lives in body/spirit/mind, through menstrual awareness and celebration. They wander through topics and life stories, of mothers/daughters, goddesses, sexuality, care of body and self, the importance of ceremony, and relationship with the Earth. It’s been a nice touchstone for me, to hear these women’s voices, and be brought into women’s spirituality space online. I miss my women’s circles of old! Being in circle/ceremony with women, creating ritual and hearing the stories, in all our cycles of life. We work this way together in my women’s art collective, the Gestare Art Collective:

Old forms, into new forms - transforming. I do love this time of word-weaving, in my ‘red tent,’ avec mon fil rouge – un fil de sang/sens, un fil du corps feminine.  

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